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So I have been listening to records for years on a old Panasonic record player that finally died. I recently “upgraded” to an Audio Technica LP120. With the new equipment I am trying to get my setup to sound as good as possible within a reasonable budget. 

With all of that being said I decided to try and align my stylus because I have been reading that it can make a difference with the sound quality. I downloaded a protractor from Vinyl Engine and aligned it using that and also double checked it with a protractor I ordered from Ortofon.  It sounds good at the beginning of the record but gets a little distorted in later tracks. The alignment looks good on the protractor, but now I am worried that I have messed up the overhang. I am not sure where to go from here and there are a lot of terrible videos on YouTube that don’t explain it very well. 

Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated 

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If you're only getting distortion on the inner-tracks, then you've most likely got a bad alignment. Take care with the protractor (go by the glass Ortofon protractor, not the paper print-out) to see that the cartridge is equally aligned at both the outer and inner points. Also, the stylus (not the cartridge body) should meet the record in as perfectly vertical a manner as possible.


I always follow-up a cartridge alignment with a visual and auditory inspection. Take a flashlight and shine it directly at the point where the stylus meets the record - the needle should be receiving the groove as "straight" as possible at any given point. If you still hear distortion, stop and start again. Good luck!

Edited by bluethumb

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You may also want to check the height of your tonearm.. not sure if it's adjustable on the LP120 but you want the tonearm to be horizontal to the platter when lowered/playing an album.

I'd recommend a mirrored alignment protractor ($10-ish on amazon) . Ensure your cartridge lines up with the grid in both A and B positions. Distortion towards the inside of the record is called inner groove distortion and the LP120 should be able to track without that happening.

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